Also known as that time we all wanted to die after eating.
Once again I had empty tart cases sitting in my freezer waiting to be filled. For a while now I have wanted to make a chocolate tart, but in amongst all the prototype wedding cake that took us two weeks to finish, I was lacking the opportune moment to produce such a beauty.
Finally the perfect Homeland Monday arrived (we watch Homeland on Mondays and I always bring dessert).
Now making this tart is actually really simple. All it is is a pastry case, a batch of slightly firmer than usual ganache, a can of condensed milk that has been turned into caramel and a couple of roasted hazelnuts.
Prepare to wow your friends!
Just don't cut massive slices of this. As should have been obvious to us last night, it was really really rich (400g of chocolate went into it after all!). I forced myself to finish my slice. After which the idea of falling into a coma and never again waking up seemed reasonably likely to happen.
To make the caramel there are two methods. The first which usually works for me but unfortunately Pams brand condensed milk seems to be lacking in the old milk solids content at the moment so hasn't been turning into caramel very well. This method being placing 2-3 (you can do just one but I like to stock the pantry up in one go) sealed cans of condensed milk in a stock pot, covering with boiling water and leaving to actively simmer for three hours keeping an eye on the water level at intervals. My favourite reaction, the Maillard reaction, would have caramelised the milk proteins and the sugars into a delicious can-ful of greatness.
The second method requires more caution. Place the in a small saucepan on a medium to low heat and slowly stir for probably around ten minutes along with a tablespoon of golden syrup. The condensed milk needs to go from the light cream colour to a dark, rich caramel colour. You have to be careful however not to let it bubble and burn otherwise you will get a weird lumpy texture. Because of this I recommend the first method. I did have to heat my pre-boiled can in the saucepan for five minutes to finish off the caramelisation (this usually doesn't need doing). You could of course just cheat and buy a can of ready made caramel condensed milk.
I recommend making and baking the pastry first before dealing to the ganache and the hazelnuts. This way by the time you are done with the ganache and nuts the pastry will be cool and the ganache will still be warm enough to pour into the tart shell. If the ganache is a bit too thick, just pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds to loosen it up a wee bit.
Chocolate, Caramel and Hazelnut Tart
Makes one 30cm long rectangular tart (plus a few extra 10cm pastry cases) (or a 25cm round tin)
For the sweet pastry
Treats from Little and Friday
by Kim Evans
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar
250g butter, cold and hard, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (preferably vanilla bean paste)
In a food processor, whizz together the flour and icing sugar to mix and aerate it. Add in the cold, chopped butter and pulse until a fine, sandy consistency is achieved. Next add in the egg and vanilla and pulse until the dough begins to come together to become dry and crumbly. Tip the dough onto a floured bench and bring it together into a smooth disc. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least two hours. If making pastry cases in advance, roll the dough out straight away and line the tins with it. Wrap the tins up in cling film and then freeze until the time comes when you need them.
Once the dough has rested, roll out onto a floured bench until about 3mm thick. Roll it out until the pastry is the same size in each dimension as the tin you are lining plus the height of each side.
Grease your tart tin well with butter or with cooking spray.
Drape the pastry over the tart tin and gently press into the corners with your fingers. Once the pastry is well fitted, trim the edges with a knife. Leave rest in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven containing a baking tray to 180 C on bake.
Line the case with baking paper and top with baking beans or rise (aka blind bake)
Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes then remove the baking paper and rice and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the edges have become crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before filling.
For the ganache:
400g 62% cocoa solids chocolate
1 1/2 cups of cream
5g butter, melted (to make it glossy)
In a saucepan over a low heat, bring the cream up to just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a minute before whisking the mixture until it becomes smooth. Stir in the butter to make it glossy. Leave to cool on the bench, don't worry about refrigerating the ganache unless you are making it significantly ahead of the time you plan to assemble the tart.
For the caramel:
1 can (390g) condensed milk (or you can just buy the condensed milk caramel).
First method: place in a stockpot and cover with boiling water and leave to simmer for 3 hours and then leave to cool completely. I tend to do this the day before.
Second method: In a saucepan over a very low heat, slowly stir the condensed milk and around a tablespoon of golden syrup for 10-15 minutes until a dark caramel forms. Be very careful not to let it boil or burn.
For the roasted hazelnuts:
70g (1 packet) hazelnuts
preheat the oven to 180C on bake, line a baking tray with baking paper. Scatter the nuts across it and bake them for 5-7 minutes. Take a clean tea towel and place the roasted nuts on half the towel. Fold over the other half and rub the hazelnuts between it. This should remove most of the skins (which are bitter). You may need to remove the rest of the skins with your fingers.
Once the tart case is completely cool, spread over the can of condensed milk caramel. Over the top of this sprinkle over the roasted, skinless hazelnuts. Warm the ganache slightly in the microwave for 20 seconds so that it becomes pourable and then pour as much as you can over the top before it spills over the edge (you will definitely have left overs). Carefully transfer the tart to the fridge and leave it to set for three hours.
Once the chocolate is firm, use a sharp knife to slice it into (small!!) servings.